Monday, July 9, 2012

What Do Metro and the Redskins Have in Common?

Just Another Day at the Office Focusing
 on Core Government Functions

Judge for yourself but it seems like the money and favors are flowing pretty freely between a tight group of players in both the Metro deal and with this Redskin deal

When did Redskin game tickets, tours of facilities, and visits by Skins personnel become a part of Loudoun County government? Scott York is one to ask about that.

I don't buy the idea that if Bob McDonnell or Scott York say something is good for business then our tax dollars should go out the window knowing it has absolutely nothing to do with what  we pay taxes for. 

The day after the big Metro vote, Chairman York wore his #13 Loudoun Hounds jersey to work.
I wonder if that is a clue to where the next multi-million dollar "marketing"  /corporate welfare deal is being cooked up.


Link to Blue Ridge Leader article read more here:

County Reaches Multimillion Dollar Redskins Deal

By Mary M. Bathory Vidaver
On June 19, the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors voted 8-0-1 to enter into an 8-year marketing agreement with the Washington Redskins at a cost to the County of $2 million, payable in $500,000 installments over the first four years. The agreement is part of a $12.4 million initiative spearheaded by Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R).
McDonnell announced the initiative as a multi-part deal to retain the Redskins corporate headquarters, training facilities, and summer training camp in Virginia and to assist with a planned $30 million expansion of the team’s training facilities. All three are currently located at Redskins Park in Ashburn. According to a press release from the governor’s Office, the Redskins have agreed to keep their headquarters and training facilities at the current location. However, the summer training camp will shift to the City of Richmond beginning in 2013. The City of Richmond has agreed to contribute $400,000 to McDonnell’s initiative. In a 2010 presentation to the Board of Supervisors, county staff and the Redskins calculated that the summer training camp generated 20,000 visitors and an estimated $1.13 million in spending annually.
According to the Virginia Public Access Project, (VPAP) McDonnell received $50,000 in campaign contributions from the Redskins organization, making the team one of his largest individual corporate donors. It was also the largest donation recorded by the team on VPAP, some three times the amount it contributed to Mark Warner’s One Virginia Political Action Committee (PAC) and five times the amount it contributed to the Virginia Republican Party’s Virginia Joint Republican Caucus. In addition, McDonnell and his PAC, Opportunity Virginia, received $185,000 in contributions from Redskins co-owner, Dwight Schar.
The new agreement, while twice the cost of the older agreement, includes additional features, such as four annual business development meetings at the park, the use of the indoor practice facility for up to four recreational or sporting events, a limited number of game tickets each year for four home games at FedEx Field, and presenting sponsor status at one home game each year. This last includes a private suite with 24 tickets. The 2012 agreement also promises an appearance by a Redskin team executive, coach or member of the player personnel department at a Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce event.
The Chamber of Commerce is a private membership organization, whose events generally require payment by attendees. Attendees, who are members of the Chamber, generally pay $10-$50 per event. And though non-members can attend most events with the payment of an additional surcharge.
When asked to comment on the use of public funds to support the activities of a private, membership organization, a major purpose of which is to lobby the government, Board Chairman York stated, that the reference in the Draft Agreement to the Chamber of Commerce was “an example, where a member of the Skins could appear.” He further stated, “We [the County] do joint activities to promote economic development with the Chamber. I have no issue with using the hotel tax revenues to promote that which helps to put heads in beads, and as we have learned over the years, businesses make up a huge part of the numbers of overnight stays in the county.”
The Blue Ridge Leader submitted a public records request to the county for the names of invitees to these hospitality events, including designation of those attendees who were business prospects and whether those prospects established or expanded business activities in Loudoun County.
The county responded with a list of attendees to the 2009 VIP Reception held at Redskins Park and a copy of a May 2010 presentation to the board evaluating the benefits accrued from the partnership. The response also noted that the county had failed to take advantage of the opportunity to hold a VIP Reception in 2010.
However, the county withheld information about participants in the small tours and Redskins sponsorship events under a clause within the Freedom of Information Act that exempts “memoranda, working papers or other records related to businesses that are considering locating or expanding in Virginia, prepared by a public body, where competition or bargaining is involved and where, if such records are made public, the financial interest of the public body would be adversely affected.” An amended request was submitted asking for just the names of County staff, elected officials and/or members of the Economic Development Commission and CEO Cabinet. The county responded that no such records existed.
The public record indicates that neither the last Board as part of the May 2010 evaluation nor the current Board as part of its June 19 decision requested or received such information as a means to evaluate the effectiveness of the investment.

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